IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/fip/fedlwp/2014-017.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Taxing top earners: a human capital perspective

Author

Listed:
  • Alejandro Badel
  • Mark Huggett

Abstract

We assess the consequences of substantially increasing the marginal tax rate on U.S. top earners using a human capital model. The top of the model Laffer curve occurs at a 53 percent top tax rate. Tax revenues and the tax rate at the top of the Laffer curve are smaller compared to an otherwise similar model that ignores the possibility of skill change in response to a tax reform. We also show that if one applies the methods used by Diamond and Saez (2011) to provide quantitative guidance for setting the tax rate on top earners to model data then the resulting tax rate exceeds the tax rate at the top of the model Laffer curve.

Suggested Citation

  • Alejandro Badel & Mark Huggett, 2014. "Taxing top earners: a human capital perspective," Working Papers 2014-17, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedlwp:2014-017
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://research.stlouisfed.org/wp/2014/2014-017.pdf
    File Function: Full text
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Serdar Ozkan & Jae Song & Fatih Karahan & Fatih Guvenen, 2013. "What Do Data on Millions of U.S. Workers Say About Labor Income Risk?," 2013 Meeting Papers 1271, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    2. Mark Huggett & Juan Carlos Parra, 2010. "How Well Does the U.S. Social Insurance System Provide Social Insurance?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 118(1), pages 76-112, February.
    3. David Domeij & Martin Floden, 2006. "The Labor-Supply Elasticity and Borrowing Constraints: Why Estimates are Biased," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 9(2), pages 242-262, April.
    4. Jonathan Heathcote & Fabrizio Perri & Giovanni L. Violante, 2010. "Unequal We Stand: An Empirical Analysis of Economic Inequality in the United States: 1967-2006," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 13(1), pages 15-51, January.
    5. Peter Diamond & Emmanuel Saez, 2011. "The Case for a Progressive Tax: From Basic Research to Policy Recommendations," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 25(4), pages 165-190, Fall.
    6. Erosa, Andres & Koreshkova, Tatyana, 2007. "Progressive taxation in a dynastic model of human capital," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(3), pages 667-685, April.
    7. Emmanuel Saez & Joel Slemrod & Seth H. Giertz, 2012. "The Elasticity of Taxable Income with Respect to Marginal Tax Rates: A Critical Review," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 50(1), pages 3-50, March.
    8. Fatih Guvenen & Burhanettin Kuruscu & Serdar Ozkan, 2014. "Taxation of Human Capital and Wage Inequality: A Cross-Country Analysis," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 81(2), pages 818-850.
    9. J. A. Mirrlees, 1971. "An Exploration in the Theory of Optimum Income Taxation," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 38(2), pages 175-208.
    10. Jonathan Heathcote & Kjetil Storesletten & Giovanni L. Violante, 2009. "Quantitative Macroeconomics with Heterogeneous Households," Annual Review of Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 1(1), pages 319-354, May.
    11. Badel, Alejandro & Huggett, Mark, 2017. "The sufficient statistic approach: Predicting the top of the Laffer curve," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(C), pages 1-12.
    12. Giertz, Seth, 2008. "Panel Data Techniques and the Elasticity of Taxable Income," MPRA Paper 17600, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    13. Tauchen, George, 1986. "Finite state markov-chain approximations to univariate and vector autoregressions," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 20(2), pages 177-181.
    14. Raj Chetty, 2006. "A New Method of Estimating Risk Aversion," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(5), pages 1821-1834, December.
    15. MaCurdy, Thomas E, 1981. "An Empirical Model of Labor Supply in a Life-Cycle Setting," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(6), pages 1059-1085, December.
    16. Kindermann, Fabian & Krueger, Dirk, 2014. "High Marginal Tax Rates on the Top 1%? Lessons from a Life Cycle Model with Idiosyncratic Income Risk," CEPR Discussion Papers 10208, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    17. Huggett, Mark & Ventura, Gustavo & Yaron, Amir, 2006. "Human capital and earnings distribution dynamics," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(2), pages 265-290, March.
    18. Susumu Imai & Michael P. Keane, 2004. "Intertemporal Labor Supply and Human Capital Accumulation," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 45(2), pages 601-641, May.
    19. Michael Keane & Richard Rogerson, 2015. "Reconciling Micro and Macro Labor Supply Elasticities: A Structural Perspective," Annual Review of Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 7(1), pages 89-117, August.
    20. Yoram Ben-Porath, 1967. "The Production of Human Capital and the Life Cycle of Earnings," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 75, pages 352-352.
    21. Michael P. Keane, 2011. "Labor Supply and Taxes: A Survey," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 49(4), pages 961-1075, December.
    22. Emmanuel Saez, 2001. "Using Elasticities to Derive Optimal Income Tax Rates," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 68(1), pages 205-229.
    23. Nezih Guner & Remzi Kaygusuz & Gustavo Ventura, 2014. "Income Taxation of U.S. Households: Facts and Parametric Estimates," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 17(4), pages 559-581, October.
    24. Altonji, Joseph G, 1986. "Intertemporal Substitution in Labor Supply: Evidence from Micro Data," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(3), pages 176-215, June.
    25. Guner, Nezih & Lopez-Daneri, Martin & Ventura, Gustavo, 2016. "Heterogeneity and Government revenues: Higher taxes at the top?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 80(C), pages 69-85.
    26. Fabian Kindermann & Dirk Krueger, 2014. "The Redistributive Benefits of Progressive Labor and Capital Income Taxation," 2014 Meeting Papers 221, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    27. Michael Keane & Richard Rogerson, 2015. "Reconciling Micro and Macro Labor Supply Elasticities: A Structural Perspective," Annual Review of Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 7(1), pages 89-117, 08.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Blog mentions

    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Two papers on taxing the top x%
      by Christian Zimmermann in NEP-DGE blog on 2014-08-26 18:03:08

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Hans A. Holter & Dirk Krueger & Serhiy Stepanchuk, 2019. "How do tax progressivity and household heterogeneity affect Laffer curves?," Quantitative Economics, Econometric Society, vol. 10(4), pages 1317-1356, November.
    2. Alejandro Badel & Moira Daly & Mark Huggett & Martin Nybom, 2018. "Top Earners: Cross-Country Facts," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, vol. 100(3), pages 237-257.
    3. Findeisen, Sebastian & Sachs, Dominik, 2017. "Redistribution and insurance with simple tax instruments," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 146(C), pages 58-78.
    4. Golosov, M. & Tsyvinski, A. & Werquin, N., 2016. "Recursive Contracts and Endogenously Incomplete Markets," Handbook of Macroeconomics, in: J. B. Taylor & Harald Uhlig (ed.), Handbook of Macroeconomics, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 0, pages 725-841, Elsevier.
    5. Guner, Nezih & Lopez-Daneri, Martin & Ventura, Gustavo, 2016. "Heterogeneity and Government revenues: Higher taxes at the top?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 80(C), pages 69-85.
    6. Cruz Echevarría, 2015. "Income tax progressivity, growth, income inequality and welfare," SERIEs: Journal of the Spanish Economic Association, Springer;Spanish Economic Association, vol. 6(1), pages 43-72, March.
    7. Jacob Lundberg, 2017. "The Laffer curve for high incomes," LIS Working papers 711, LIS Cross-National Data Center in Luxembourg.
    8. Fatih Guvenen & Greg Kaplan & Jae Song, 2020. "The Glass Ceiling and the Paper Floor: Gender Differences among Top Earners, 1981–2012," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2020, volume 35, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Bofinger, Peter & Schnabel, Isabel & Feld, Lars P. & Schmidt, Christoph M. & Wieland, Volker, 2015. "Zukunftsfähigkeit in den Mittelpunkt. Jahresgutachten 2015/16," Annual Economic Reports / Jahresgutachten, German Council of Economic Experts / Sachverständigenrat zur Begutachtung der gesamtwirtschaftlichen Entwicklung, volume 127, number 201516.
    10. Brüggemann, Bettina & Yoo, Jinhyuk, 2015. "Aggregate and distributional effects of increasing taxes on top income earners," SAFE Working Paper Series 113, Leibniz Institute for Financial Research SAFE.
    11. Fabian Kindermann & Dirk Krueger, 2014. "High Marginal Tax Rates on the Top 1%? Lessons from a Life Cycle Model with Idiosyncratic Income Risk," NBER Working Papers 20601, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Markus Poschke & Baris Kaymak, 2015. "The evolution of wealth inequality over half a century: the role of skills, taxes and institutions," 2015 Meeting Papers 967, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    13. Mikhail Golosov & Maxim Troshkin & Aleh Tsyvinski, 2016. "Redistribution and Social Insurance," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 106(2), pages 359-386, February.
    14. Lundberg, Jacob, 2017. "Analyzing tax reforms using the Swedish Labour Income Microsimulation Model," Working Paper Series 2017:12, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
    15. Roozbeh Hosseini & Ali Shourideh, 2019. "Retirement Financing: An Optimal Reform Approach," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 87(4), pages 1205-1265, July.
    16. Alejandro Badel, 2015. "Quantitative Macro Versus Sufficient Statistic Approach: A Laffer Curve Dilemma?," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, vol. 97(3), pages 257-267.
    17. Olga A. Timoshenko & Erick Sager, 2016. "The EMG Distribution and Aggregate Trade Elasticities," Working Papers 2016-15, The George Washington University, Institute for International Economic Policy.
    18. Lusi Liao & Sasiwimon W. Paweenawat, 2020. "A Glass Ceiling? Gender Inequality of Top Earners in Thailand," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 40(1), pages 500-515.
    19. Bettina Brueggemann, 2016. "Higher Taxes at the Top: The Role of Entrepreneurs," 2016 Meeting Papers 332, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    20. Adam Blandin, 2015. "Disciplining the Human Capital Model: Learning By Doing, Ben-Porath, and Policy Analysis," 2015 Meeting Papers 1147, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    21. Badel, Alejandro & Huggett, Mark, 2017. "The sufficient statistic approach: Predicting the top of the Laffer curve," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(C), pages 1-12.
    22. Kaymak, Barış & Poschke, Markus, 2016. "The evolution of wealth inequality over half a century: The role of taxes, transfers and technology," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 77(C), pages 1-25.
    23. Raei, Sepideh, 2020. "Gradual tax reforms: If you like it, you can keep it," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 111(C).
    24. Sachs, Dominik & Findeisen, Sebastian, 2015. "Insurance and Redistribution with Simple Tax Instruments," VfS Annual Conference 2015 (Muenster): Economic Development - Theory and Policy 113099, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    25. Kindermann, Fabian & Krueger, Dirk, 2014. "High marginal tax rates on the top 1%?," CFS Working Paper Series 473, Center for Financial Studies (CFS).

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Badel, Alejandro & Huggett, Mark, 2017. "The sufficient statistic approach: Predicting the top of the Laffer curve," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(C), pages 1-12.
    2. Hans A. Holter & Dirk Krueger & Serhiy Stepanchuk, 2019. "How do tax progressivity and household heterogeneity affect Laffer curves?," Quantitative Economics, Econometric Society, vol. 10(4), pages 1317-1356, November.
    3. Nezih Guner & Javier López-Segovia & Roberto Ramos, 2020. "Reforming the individual income tax in Spain," SERIEs: Journal of the Spanish Economic Association, Springer;Spanish Economic Association, vol. 11(4), pages 369-406, December.
    4. Michael P. Keane, 2015. "Effects Of Permanent And Transitory Tax Changes In A Life‐Cycle Labor Supply Model With Human Capital," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 56, pages 485-503, May.
    5. Guner, Nezih & Lopez-Daneri, Martin & Ventura, Gustavo, 2016. "Heterogeneity and Government revenues: Higher taxes at the top?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 80(C), pages 69-85.
    6. Michael P. Keane & Nada Wasi, 2016. "Labour Supply: The Roles of Human Capital and The Extensive Margin," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 0(592), pages 578-617, May.
    7. Blandin, Adam, 2018. "Learning by Doing and Ben-Porath: Life-cycle Predictions and Policy Implications," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 90(C), pages 220-235.
    8. Christian Bredemeier & Jan Gravert & Falko Juessen, 2019. "Estimating Labor Supply Elasticities with Joint Borrowing Constraints of Couples," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 37(4), pages 1215-1265.
    9. Yongsung Chang & Yena Park, 2017. "Optimal Taxation with Private Insurance," 2017 Meeting Papers 1321, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    10. Minchul Yum, 2018. "On the distribution of wealth and employment," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 30, pages 86-105, October.
    11. Blandin, Adam & Peterman, William B., 2019. "Taxing capital? The importance of how human capital is accumulated," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 119(C), pages 482-508.
    12. Lawson, Nicholas, 2019. "Taxing the job creators: Efficient taxation with bargaining in hierarchical firms," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(C), pages 1-25.
    13. Michael P. Keane, 2011. "Labor Supply and Taxes: A Survey," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 49(4), pages 961-1075, December.
    14. Benjamin B. Lockwood & Charles G. Nathanson & E. Glen Weyl, 2017. "Taxation and the Allocation of Talent," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 125(5), pages 1635-1682.
    15. Andrés Erosa & Luisa Fuster & Gueorgui Kambourov, 2016. "Towards a Micro-Founded Theory of Aggregate Labour Supply," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 83(3), pages 1001-1039.
    16. Alejandro Badel & Moira Daly & Mark Huggett & Martin Nybom, 2018. "Top Earners: Cross-Country Facts," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, vol. 100(3), pages 237-257.
    17. Michael Keane, 2011. "Income Taxation in a Life Cycle Model with Human Capital," Working Papers 201117, ARC Centre of Excellence in Population Ageing Research (CEPAR), Australian School of Business, University of New South Wales.
    18. Bredemeier, Christian & Gravert, Jan & Juessen, Falko, 2021. "Accounting for Limited Commitment between Spouses When Estimating Labor-Supply Elasticities," IZA Discussion Papers 14226, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    19. Raj Chetty & Adam Guren & Day Manoli & Andrea Weber, 2013. "Does Indivisible Labor Explain the Difference between Micro and Macro Elasticities? A Meta-Analysis of Extensive Margin Elasticities," NBER Macroeconomics Annual, University of Chicago Press, vol. 27(1), pages 1-56.
    20. Young-sook Kim & Myoung-jae Lee, 2016. "Regression-Kink Approach for Wage Effect on Male Work Hours," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 78(3), pages 424-442, June.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Human Capital; Marginal Tax Rates; Inequality; Laffer Curve;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D91 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Role and Effects of Psychological, Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Factors on Decision Making
    • E21 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Consumption; Saving; Wealth
    • H2 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:fip:fedlwp:2014-017. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/frbslus.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.